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Virgin Atlantic cuts 3,000 staff, shuts London Gatwick base

written by Dylan Nicholson | May 6, 2020

Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic now faces a fight to survive after announcing huge job cuts. (Wikimedia Commons)

Virgin Atlantic is cutting more than 3,000 staff, a third of its workforce, and will cease flying from London’s Gatwick Airport.

The airline also announced it will no longer fly the Boeing 747 as part of regular operations.

In a statement titled Our post Covid19 future, the airline stated it “plans to reshape and resize its business to ensure that it is fit for the future, in response to the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy, our nation and the travel and aviation industry.”

“In order for the airline to emerge from the crisis, regrettably it must reduce the number of people employed and today the company is announcing a planned reduction of 3,150 jobs across all functions. Working closely with unions BALPA and Unite, a company-wide consultation period of 45 days begins today,” the statement reads.

The airline also announced that it will be shuttering its Gatwick services as CEO Shai Weiss insisted it was vital the airline became profitable again next year.

“We have weathered many storms since our first flight 36 years ago, but none has been as devastating as COVID-19,” he said. “Now is the time for further action to reduce our costs, preserve cash and to protect as many jobs as possible.”

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson has been pleading with the UK government for a bailout but has yet to receive any help despite offering his private island as collateral.


In an open letter to employees, he said Virgin Atlantic would need government support to keep the airline going “in the face of the severe uncertainty surrounding travel today and not knowing how long the planes will be grounded for”.

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